Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest city, located in the northwestern part of the country on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Its iconic architecture and rich cultural offerings make it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The city also has a vibrant nightlife and a wealth of cultural attractions, with something to suit everyone’s taste.
Home to more than 5 million people, it is known for its historic palaces and cultural landmarks such as the Hermitage museum.
It was once the capital of Russia for over two centuries and served as a lively center for politics, commerce, culture, and research. Today, the city remains an important cultural and economic hub in Russian Federation.
Saint Petersburg Facts for Kids
- St. Petersburg is a city in Russia.
- It was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great.
- It is known for its many canals, bridges, and palaces.
- It was the capital of Russia from 1712-1918.
- It is home to the Hermitage Museum, which has over 3 million works of art.
- The city has a population of over 5 million people.
The Evolving Names and Identities of Saint Petersburg
The Russian city of Saint Petersburg has long been known as a cultural hotspot and has had multiple iterations throughout its history.
Peter the Great established and named it Sankt-Peterburg in 1703.
Following Germany’s declaration of war on Russia during the onset of World War I in 1914, the Imperial Government renamed it Petrograd (“Peter’s City”) to remove all German associations with the city.
After Lenin died, it was again changed to Leningrad (“Lenin’s City”), reflecting both a tribute to Lenin’s legacy in 1917 and an effort to remove any Tsarist associations.
Saint Petersburg holds various nicknames that reflect its various character traits and natural phenomena:
Window to Europe & Window to the West reflects its role as Russia’s most westernized and Europeanized city.
Venice of the North & Russian Venice reflects its many water corridors and similarities with romantic Italian cities like Venice.
The City Of White Nights reflects its proximity to arctic latitudes and popularity among young couples due to part-nightly darkness within a month during summertime.
A Timeless City of Culture, History, and Beauty
Saint Petersburg is one of the most iconic and important cities in Russia, renowned for its rich culture, history, and architecture.
Located along the Neva River, Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter The Great on May 27, 1703. It served as the capital of Imperial Russia from 1713-1728 and 1732-1918, earning it the title of ‘Russia’s Cultural Capital.’
Its Historic Centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the most renowned museums in the world, like The Hermitage.
It also has deep-rooted historical significance due to nearby Nyenskans- a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River which was built by Swedish colonists in 1611.
Peter the Great saw potential in this area for trading with Europe and therefore proceeded to take control over Ingermanland (the land surrounding Nyenskans) by constructing Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island.
This construction process, unfortunately, involved tens of thousands of serfs and prisoners whose labor ended cost their lives.
This city eventually became the seat of government in 1704, when Peter The Great made it his new capital instead of Moscow at that time in 1712.
Consequently, St Petersburg Governorate was born, providing great opportunities for trade and diplomacy between countries – especially reflected through its art and architecture that stands strong today.
The Beginnings of Democracy in Saint Petersburg
In 1991, Saint Petersburg made history when its city authorities arranged for the first-ever mayoral elections to be held simultaneously with the first Russian Presidential Elections.
The metropolis had Anatoly Sobchak as its very first Mayor, while Vladimir Yakovlev emerged as his successor and changed the title from ‘Mayor’ to ‘Governor.’
From that moment on, a new era dawned for the St. Petersburg community, and gradually, economic conditions started to improve substantially.
Its citizens were given new hope, with improvements in their quality of life becoming increasingly evident around the beginning of the 21st century.
It was due to these positive changes that hope was rekindled within them, and Saint Petersburg set an example of what can be achieved by taking decisive action.
What are St. Petersburg Landmarks?
It is home to some of the most beautiful landmarks in Russia. From the grand palaces like The Summer Palace and Catherine Palace to impressive cathedrals such as St Isaac’s Cathedral, a trip to St. Petersburg offers something for everyone.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has become a symbol of service and dedication from those who have defended it throughout history.
The State Russian Museum showcases some of the most iconic works by famous Russian artists, while The Horse Bronzeman Memorial commemorates Peter the Great’s legacy.
The Church of Savior on Spilled Blood was built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination and is similar in design to St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
It features beautiful mosaics, domes, mosaics, and delicate murals – making it a must-visit location if you find yourself exploring this fascinating city! Lastly, don’t miss out on visiting St Michael’s Castle, which is located on an island in Neva River just a few miles from the heart of St Petersburg.
Important Facts and Overview
Saint Petersburg is the second-largest city in Russia after Moscow.
It is the largest country in the world by area and is home to over 145 million people.
Saint Petersburg is a federal city and is not part of any Russian region.
The current city governor of Saint Petersburg is Alexander Beglov, who has held the position since 2019.
The Winter Palace, located in Saint Petersburg, is a grand Baroque palace that was the official residence of the Russian Tsars from 1732 to 1917.
Beluga caviar, a luxury food made from the eggs of the beluga sturgeon, is often associated with Saint Petersburg and is a popular delicacy in the city.